Is British Airways' Business-Class-Only Plane Sneakily a Good Deal?

It's a question of comfort, and how much you value it

By Shari Gab

Is British Airways' Business-Class-Only Plane Sneakily a Good Deal?
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23 May 2017

Welcome to For What It’s Worth, in which we break down the seemingly ludicrous costs of some of our favorite objects and experiences to try to answer a simple question: Is it worth it?

I arrived, reluctantly, at Newark International Airport on a mission with OpenSkies, a transatlantic subsidiary of British Airways. The reluctant part owed to a trip from the previous weekend, when I spent more time at Newark airport in a 48-hour period than I spent at home, haggling with an airline that just might (maybe) rhyme with to-night-ed.

First impressions of OpenSkies? It was the polar opposite of that. Of course, it should be, considering the pricetag: a direct flight from Newark to Orly with biz beds doesn’t come without dishing out a fair amount of coin: around $2,590 on the low end, with last-minute flights topping out around $7,300.

So is it worth it? Let's take a look.

opensky (3 images)

Upon arrival ...
I don’t check bags. Number one, because I believe in packing very light. Number two, because I need my luggage to fit into my color scheme for the day. And number three, because “No.” Should I have wanted to, though, the checked bag would have been complimentary. The counter attendant was kind and warm and walked me directly not just to, but through security, to the OpenSkies lounge.

Said lounge was lovely. They had all the seltzer, soda, juice and coffee one could hope for, along with all the open-pour bar we needed. There were also showers, wifi and lounge chairs, with outlets scattered everywhere. Ahead of the overnight flight, guests were encouraged to dine in the lounge beforehand. And dine we did: the gourmet chefs served up everything from fresh sushi to steak, crisp salads to sorbet. When it was time to head out, the staff gently let us know it was go time.

On board ...

The Seating: 
Truth be told, the layout is odd. The biz beds were nestled in twos, one facing back and one facing forward ... so you’re facing your seatmate. If you’re traveling with someone you know, this isn’t a big deal. I wasn't. I’m also not a cute sleeper, especially on a plane. So I closed the divider. Then I woke up and there was Champagne in front of me and I completely forgot about whatever it was I was just uncomfortable about.

The Amenities: They gave me pajamas to change into, but for a nine-hour flight, that’s not my thing. The Furla flight accessories bag was very handsome but fairly standard, containing a sleep mask, socks, earplugs, facial lotion, lip balm and, thank you, a pen.

The Service: Excellent on all fronts. These people were on top of their game. There was a three-course express meal served all at once. There was plenty of red wine if you’re like me and avoid sleeping aids in case you need to jump up and become a hero/land a network miniseries documenting some fearless and selfless act of bravery. And once the wine kicked in, the attendants were more than happy to help me set up the lay-flat bed, which at just under 5’11” gave me no issues stretching out on. All in all, through the duration of the flight, I wanted for nothing. 

The Entertainment: OpenSkies offers personal iPads with a curated selection of more than 70 hours of entertainment that changes every month. Easy enough. But there was one issue. I work in media, so like most living, breathing cyborgs out there, I sweat from the temples and palms when I don’t have the Internet. These flights did not have the internet. Was it nice to disconnect for the flight so as to arrive rested and refreshed? Not really. I just assumed business class meant wifi. This was an excellent reminder for me to always check ahead of time.

On the ground ...
Two words. Uber Code. The two words can make all the difference upon landing in a foreign country. First off, you’re setting down in Orly, which puts you just 20 minutes from anywhere one would need to go in Paris. Number two, OpenSkies has partnered with Uber and offers a code to and from your destination for ease. Not having to think as I was coming out of my Pinot fog was a gamechanger.

hilton (3 images)

In conclusion ...
It’s worth it. For what you get, the OpenSkies experience is a competitive steal. And if you’re anything like us and like to make whirlwind trips to far, faraway lands, it’s an imperative. A relaxing, seamless travel experience put us down well-rested upon arrival in Paris, ready to adventure pretty much as soon as we finished checking in. The alternative? Arriving tired, hungry and ready to hit the ground stumbling.

Not us. After a quick shower, we hit the ground running.

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